Flash Fiction Challenge #37: Choose Your Own Setting

amusement park, clown, Flash Fiction, short story, writing

Our flash fiction challenge this week at Terrible Minds was to choose one of five settings and use it for a short story, trying not to deviate from the setting at all, and keeping under 1000 words. The setting I chose was “Abandoned Amusement Park”, and while I know it’s been done to death, I wanted to put my own spin on it. I also couldn’t keep it quite under 1000 words because I wanted to end it on my terms. Hope you enjoy!

 Ferris Wheel, Amusement Park, Theme Park, AmusementLust & The Clown

Andrew stopped the car almost a quarter mile from the park because he feared we’d be caught. But that was part of the thrill.

“Got your flashlight?” he asked.

I nodded and made my clumsy way out of the vehicle.

Twenty years ago, across the ditch and up the hill, there had been a hole in the fence. That was how we’d snuck in the first time.

As Andrew hoisted me up the hill using my ass for leverage, I couldn’t help but laugh. We had gotten older, but times had not changed much.

The hole in the wooden fence was still there. After all, the amusement park had gone bust only a year after we’d lost our virginity inside the center podium of the merry-go-round, the one that had likely sat there rusting for two decades.

Andrew was the first to squeak through the hole. “Wait. Want to make sure there’re no hobos or anything.”

I peered through the broken fence. Not a light shone in the park. The roller coaster called “Bat Outta Hell” loomed menacingly over our heads.

Having had a couple of drinks, though, menacing just seemed fun.

“Okay, coast is clear.”

I squeezed through the hole. Against the moonlit sky, the old, rusted, broken down rides were dark silhouettes. The grass was so grown over that I expected to hear crickets on this late August night, but the air was silent.

“Weird, isn’t it?” Andrew asked. As we walked forward, he brushed his hands through the weeds. “It’s like there’re no living creatures here, after all this time.”

My hand brushed against a thistle next to a massive beam supporting an arch in the coaster. I barely felt the spines as they penetrated my skin. “Maybe this park is cursed,” I said with a smirk. “Better watch out. It doesn’t take prisoners.”


We arrived at the tarmac, all cracked and broken. Weeds had sprouted through the fissures as if by osmosis. Andrew took my left hand and stared ahead. “Which direction, my love?”

I shrugged and clawed at his chest. “Doesn’t matter where we do it, does it?”

Andrew smirked. “Somewhere clean, perhaps?”

“Could always try it standing.”

“Dirty girl.” He pointed to the Farris wheel. “If I remember correctly, there was tons of room in those things.”

“Fine, whatever,” I said, “Let’s just—” I kissed Andrew hard on the lips. “—do it already. We came all this way. The anticipation is killing me.”

At this, Andrew began to run towards the Farris wheel, dragging me behind.

We climbed into the lowest car to the ground. For good measure, I closed the tiny door behind us.

Before long we were making out like a couple of young lovers, stripping the clothes off one another as if being naked could save the world.

And then there was a clang, the sound of steel falling to the pavement, a wrench maybe, somewhere to the left.

Andrew and I separated at once, alert and frozen in our spots.

Having been married for nineteen years, we didn’t need to speak to understand each other. We each threw our shirts back on, Andrew his shoes, and climbed out of the car, flashlights illuminating the distance ahead of us.

“Hello?” Andrew called.

“Shh!” I hissed. “Let’s just get out of here!”

Another wrench fell to the ground somewhere behind us. I spun around to face a tilt-a-whirl, but I could see no one.

“Hello?” Andrew called again.

“Andrew, please, let’s just leave!”

He smirked. “Are you afraid this place is cursed?”

I grabbed his arm and hugged it close. “No, I just don’t want to go to jail for trespassing tonight, okay? We have the kids to go home to.”

Despite my pleas, Andrew stepped forward. My heart was thumping so hard in my chest that I could hear the blood rushing in my ears. Why did he always have to show so much bravado?

“Is someone there?”

I squeezed Andrew’s arm, begging there be no response. But there was.

“Ain’t you a sight for sore eyes, perty thang.”

The voice came from behind us. Adrenaline firing, I turned around and met a tall, heavyweight clown dressed in a dirty old costume. In his right hand he held a massive wrench. He smacked it repeatedly in his left hand.

Again, from behind, another voice spooked us. “I just love watching folk getting it on in my park.”

We turned back towards our exit to find the same clown, smacking that wrench in his hand. I looked behind me. There was no one there.

“How’d you do that, buddy?” Andrew asked, guiding me backwards with his left arm as he himself withdrew from the clown. “Some kind of magic trick?”

“Well,” the tall man said, “I am a clown.” He chucked the wrench at us and Andrew ducked with mere milliseconds to spare.

“Run!” Andrew shouted. He pulled me in the direction of the hole in the fence, but while it sat only maybe two hundred feet away, it seemed as though it were miles.

I could hear the clown dashing after us, thus increasing my panic. “What the fuck, Andrew? Why is there a clown at an amusement park? This wasn’t a circus!” I cried as we ran, but he had no answers.

We met the tall grass and though I begged my feet to cooperate, they caught in the long weeds anyway. I fell flat on my face just thirty feet from the hole, from safety, but Andrew ran another fifteen feet before he noticed I was not with him anymore. I turned back to track the clown, not expecting him to be almost on top of me, ready to chuck another wrench at my head.

Andrew turned back to tackle the clown, and as contact should have been made, the clown disappeared.

“Looking for me?”

He was standing before the hole in the fence, smacking the wrench.

Andrew helped me up from the ground and with his eyes gestured our plan. I nodded, heart nearly palpitating with fear, and took stance.

“Go,” Andrew whispered.

Against all good judgement, we ran at the clown instead of away from him. If he was human, there was only so much he could do to harm us. If he wasn’t…

The distance closed too quickly. The clown chucked wrenches at us, one striking my shoulder, but as the distance decreased this became more difficult for him.

As we charged, we kept our heads down.

We struck fence.

In pain, I opened my eyes to find that the clown was nowhere to be seen.

“Go, go!” Andrew cried, and shoved me through the hole. He was out seconds after me. We rolled down the hill to the ditch, and climbed our way back to the car.

Driving away, the only thing we could do was stare out the windshield. I swear as we passed the main entrance of the park, I saw the clown out front, waving us goodbye.

© Lindsay Mawson 2012

14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge #37: Choose Your Own Setting

  1. Hey Lindsay – I liked this story: evil clowns, deserted parks, AND interrupted coitus. All the horror of life, rolled into one small story.
    Good job.
    And how come you weren't first? You're always first in Wendig's FF challenges.

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